I witnessed my first case of an unexpected Lipo Fire at the HRRC Spring Fly-In” this past weekend. One of the events planned during this AMA Sanctioned event was foamy combat. About an hour prior to the combat event, Joe flew his plane for a short trim flight. He landed, removed the wing and disconnected the battery from the ESC. A few minutes later a crowd of foamy combat pilots were talking flack about who was going to walk away with the trophy when all of a sudden Joe’s plane erupts into a ball of fire.
Another pilot quickly pulls the burning plane out from under the wing of a larger gas plane. I could not believe what I had just seen so I quickly grabbed my camera and shot a couple photos of the roasted fuselage.
This is the first time I have ever known a Lipo battery to spontaneously combust totally disconnected. I later interviewed Joe to inquire about his charging methods and the type of battery that just caught fire. The battery was a Mystery 1250 mAH and Joe stated that he balances his Lipo’s about ever fifth charge and I suggested that he should balance every charge cycle.
The fact that this pack battery was flown briefly prior to catching fire eliminated any possibility the pack was overcharged when it caught fire. I am at a total loss on this one and frankly would not believe such a thing could happen if I had not seen it for myself.
A very sobering moment came a few minutes later when a visiting modeler mentions that he recently lost his $18,000+ garage due to a Lipo fire.
The good news is everyone who attended this past weekends event has since gained a heightened awareness of the potential dangers of Lipo Fires.